On Wednesday, Sept. 27, firearms were found in the backpacks of two Berkeley High School students. The Berkeley Police Department (BPD) arrested both students and confiscated the weapons. That same day, Interim Principal Tonia Coleman and Superintendent Enikia Ford Morthel sent out an email to BHS students and families, acknowledging the incident and disclosing the following information.
The message stated that police arrested the first student when, upon a search of their backpack, they were discovered to be carrying a gun. BPD took possession of the weapon, and BHS’s administration team began investigating the matter. This investigation led to the discovery of another firearm in the possession of another student. The student had left campus before this discovery, but their backpack had been left at school. The second weapon was found by school staff, who turned it over to the police, allowing BPD to continue their investigation.
According to the California Education Code, when a gun is brought onto campus by a student, that student must be suspended and recommended for expulsion, including when no one is hurt and no attacks occur. This is because while there were no reports of either weapon being brandished or of any threats made by the arrested students, weapons on campus still threaten the safety of BHS students and staff, according to the email sent out by Coleman and Morthel. The message also acknowledged that this incident could be triggering to both students and staff.
“It’s natural that incidents like these may bring up different feelings and emotions for students and staff,” said Coleman and Morthel in their email. “BHS administrators and counselors continue to be available for any students in need of support.”